WESTBOROUGH - The idea for Kim Harrington’s newest trilogy of science fiction for young readers came to her last summer during a two-month writing break when she was spending more time with her young son.
Like many people, the two were out playing last year’s mobile craze, Pokemon Go, high-fiving strangers and striking up conversation over the new hit game. In Pokemon Go, gamers walk outside in neighborhoods and public spaces with their smartphones and discover hidden icons that reveal cartoonish monsters.
The Westborough resident told her son that she “wished she could bottle up the sense of community the video game brought to her area,” and that’s where the inspiration behind her new trilogy came from. Harrington sent a 30-page write-up to her agent, and in almost no time Sterling Publishing quickly picked up the title.
Using video games as the backdrop for her story would seem a natural fit for Harrington. She, her husband and son are big gamers. Like 12-year-old Bex, the main character in her stories, Harrington grew up playing with personal computers.
“I’ve been playing computer games since I got my Texas Instruments TI-99 and Commodore 64,” she said. Harrington also took programming classes in college, and worked as a computer game programmer for a year as well.
Combining her love and knowledge of video games, Harrington wrote these Pokemon Go inspired titles in the “Gamer Squad” series to target gamer-fluent readers aged 8 to 12.
The books establish the gamers as heroes who use their special gaming and programming skills to save their town from the perils of various villains. Kirkus Reviews praised the book saying, “the fast pace and action focus will appeal to game-addicted readers.”
“Gamer Squad” debuts Aug. 1 with a simultaneous release of the first two books, “Gamer Squad #1: Attack of the Not-So-Virtual Monsters” followed by “Gamer Squad #2: Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind.” The third book, “Gamer Squad #3: App of the Living Dead,” is set to be released on Oct. 3.
Harrington will be at her book’s release party Aug. 1, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the event room at Tatnuck Bookseller in Westborough, 18 Lyman St. Fans can get their books signed, listen to some quick talk about the series, play games, and get a picture with the giant Gamer Squad logo to re-create the cover of the book.
Harrington’s first book, “Clarity,” received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, was a 2012 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, sold to nine countries, and was optioned for television by Warner Bros. Harrington has six other published titles for both children and teens. For more on her work, visithttp://www.kimharringtonbooks.com/home.html.